Thursday, March 15, 2018

Scrap Happy in March

Goodness, I didn't mean to let a whole week pass without a new post! We have been a little distracted around here, making arrangements to have a new roof put on our house in addition to the reupholstering of my wing back chair. Naturally there have been toxic exposures to recover from as well.

You may recall my Halloween Disappearing 9 Patch quilt top. It's now a completed quilt:

60" x 72"
It would count for Scrap Happy Day because it was made entirely of scraps of Halloween prints or yardage that's been around for a while (a good long while in most cases!).

James did a simple meander in orange thread to keep the Halloween prints the focus of the quilt top. It's a very fun quilt. Did I tell you I started another D9P featuring food prints? That top is complete and next in line to be quilted. Meanwhile, the project I've been saving up for this Scrap Happy Day is another version of the Disappearing 9 Patch. Only this time instead of using large squares of fabric in the corners of the original 9 patch blocks I used the very scrappy Broken Dishes blocks I've been making with the off-cut triangles from various flying geese units.

The tiny print turned out to be a pretty good foil for any color or print that showed up in the scrappy broken dishes blocks. And it gave me a perfect excuse to use some of my overflowing orange prints in the centers of the large 9 patch blocks.

I ended up making 24 of the 9 Patch blocks. That gives me 96 quarters to work with to build my quilt top. I may not use them all. πŸ˜‰

Before the weather turned so cold around here I laid out the quarters all in the same orientation. As I was building the 9 Patch blocks I didn't necessarily keep the Broken Dishes all facing the same direction. It wasn't always possible, given their scrappy nature. But in laying out the quarters of the 9 Patches I kept the small orange squares in the lower right hand corner.

That gave me a grid pattern with a sashing-and-cornerstone look. But what happens if I arrange the quarters the way I did in the Halloween D9P?

Eeeww, no. (It's looks worse in person than it does in this photo.) So let's try another option...

This way I have large blocks of the broken dishes blocks and four little orange squares coming  together to form a larger square. It's less chaotic, but I think I like the first option the best.

It was at this point that I had to take down my design wall extensions so the wall heater could function properly. I haven't been able to put them back up just yet but hopefully it won't be long now.

Kate and Gun are the hostesses for Scrap Happy Day on the 15th of each month. Below is a list of other participants, hopefully with hyperlinks to their blogs. If  you need some inspiration for using up your scraps this is a good place to start!

KateGun, TittiHelΓ©neEvaNanette, Lynn,  Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlys and Claire

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Unexpected Progress

I recovered enough from whatever the latest toxic exposure was to finally do some work on my Hobbit travel trailer for The Sketchbook Project. You'll recall it looked like this last Sunday for our Stitch Along check-in (see previous post):

Now it looks like this: 😊

The only problem is that all that work on the roof has caused some trouble with my left wrist and hand. Hopefully a few days of other activities will allow for whatever healing needs to take place.

Last year I was making 8" sawtooth stars and 16 Patch blocks in conjunction with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. There were some leftover scraps and patches from that effort which made it fairly easy to start piecing again.

Mind you, I didn't do all this in one day! I actually started with the ships last week and have been adding stars and 16 Patch blocks gradually since then. One of these days I'm going to have to start creating one or more quilt tops from these blocks. Our outdoor temperatures are beginning to rise so I may be able to put my design wall extensions back in place soon to allow for larger work to take place. We've even had a couple of days of sunshine that make it feel more like spring might just show up afterall!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Stitch Along in March

I couldn't do it. I just couldn't bring myself to work on the Hobbit caravan since teasing you with it during our last check-in.

Well, I guess that's not entirely true. I did finish using that strand of yellow to reinforce the outline of what will be the front door of the trailer. But no more, even though I have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to do. In my defense, we had a new sliding glass door installed this week. I think the fumes from the sealant affected me more than we expected it to. Plus there were recovery times from the  shopping I did for upholstery fabric (see previous post).

While I wasn't able to face the Hobbit travel trailer I did manage to do some other stitching. Specifically, I started a new set of pillowcases and embroidered a bit more on the set I already had in progress. This is the new set:

And here's one of the pair I've had on the go for a couple of months now.

I'm not convinced my treatment of the center of the daisy was the best choice but I'm not about to take it out, at least not yet. I did buttonhole stitch in the centers of the flowers in the newer pillowcase and quite like the way they look. The middle of the daisy is significantly larger however, so I was reluctant to use buttonhole there. I may yet remove the threads I've laid and replace them. The buttonhole stitches on some of the leaves were my own idea too. I enjoy tweaking mass produced designs to make them my own. 😊

I've also spent time and energy looking for a better way to keep my embroidery projects clean and organized. I seem to be perfectly comfortable with storing patchwork blocks in various plastic bags but when it came to the growing number of embroidery projects I found I wanted something more substantial for them. (I'm beginning to think I suffer from Stitcher's ADD more than I ever have the quilter's version!) So far this is what I've come up with:

The tool box in the foreground is not ideal but it's acceptable. I ordered it online with another set of plastic boxes that stack and snap together. They turned out to be too small for my purposes. Currently the tool box holds my various sampler projects. The other two boxes each contain one set of pillowcases in progress. I found those at Office Depot here in town. The pillowcases have to be folded up pretty small to fit but they do fit, and since they will be laundered when they're finished I figure any creases will relax then. They are poly-cotton blends so they shouldn't hang onto creases or wrinkles the way pure cotton would anyway.

I have a couple of other, larger, plastic boxes or totes for bulkier projects and raw materials (blank dish towels and the like). My hand-dyed flosses are currently in a lovely scrapbooking box with a carry handle. It's big enough to hold 12" quilt blocks should I ever decide to move the floss out. I found a way to keep the various transfer patterns all in one place too. I may not be a neat freak but I do like to have things organized! πŸ˜‰

In case you haven't been around to see what all the other stitchers in this group are working on (I think I'm the last in the world-wide time zones) you can click on their names below and be taken to their blogs. I promise you some great eye candy and maybe even a little inspiration!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Bee, Myself & I in February - Sort Of

 Bee, Myself & I is meant to be a bit of handicraft (sewing, knitting, whatever) one does for one's own pleasure and not to fulfill anyone else's needs or goals. It was instituted by Carla over at Granny Maud's Girl.

Last month I did some bead embroidery. I did not pick up any beads this month. Instead I embroidered the first block in Joy's block of the month program.

I stitched this on the same pale mottled yellow I used for the piece I showed in the previous post, using Nancy's hand dyed flosses again. I altered the pattern just a bit. There were little squiggles of new growth coming off the vine. I chose to embroider tiny leaves instead. The pattern may have printed off a bit smaller than the original; it didn't seem possible to stitch those squiggles in a recognizable way. If I stay on track this will be the first of a set of nine blocks. The eventual quilt will not be for me in all likelihood so technically this wouldn't qualify for a Bee, Myself and I project. The embroidery was just what I needed a the time though.

I have another project that also partially qualifies. I bought this chair several years ago, basically off the side of the road. Back then it looked much better than it does in this recent picture.

The back shows you better what it looked like back in the day.

The appeal of this chair was it's more delicate scale. It's not a man-sized wing back, it was built for a lady. To begin with I had this chair in my bedroom. More recently James has been using it at his desk in his workroom. (We are a family of small-scale people. πŸ˜‰) I don't want you to think he was the one that destroyed the upholstery however! It needed to be reupholstered when I first purchased it and of course has only deteriorated in the intervening years. I've had it a long time. The day has come to bite the bullet and either get rid of the chair or recover it.

None of us have the skills to reupholster a chair such as this. I found a local gal who recovers furniture in her garage for what I consider a reasonable price. Since then I have been looking for the right fabric. The easy, obvious choice was a traditional, conservative, small-scale print. The fabrics I found at comfortable prices didn't thrill me. The ones I liked the best were the most expensive - naturally.

I cannot shop safely at our Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts so their upholstery fabrics were pretty much out of consideration in spite of regular sales on home dec fabrics. Our Hobby Lobby, on the other hand, is generally safer for me. I took my health in my hands and ventured in to have a look at what they might have on offer. I didn't see anything that thrilled me on the first visit. The next time I took James in with me. Together we were able to uncover some prints that had been put on clearance. Guess what I found? Yup, a print I absolutely loved. 😁

Not traditional, not conservative, not small scale. I'm really not sure how well this is going to work on that smaller chair but since I spent all of $20.00 (total!) for the five yards I was told to get I'm willing to take a chance. This chair will Bee for Myself & I afterall!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Quiet Week

I was busy developing a third version of the Disappearing 9 Patch when the weather turned truly cold around here. That meant I had to set it aside for a while. My design wall extensions cover the heater unit in my studio wall, which isn't safe when the thermostat wants to trigger the heater. I need that extra space in order to arrange the parts to my satisfaction. So I'm going to hold off on that project until Scrap Happy Day in March (on the 15th). I trust things will have warmed up by then!

In the meantime I've been embroidering. Not on the Hobbit caravan, although I need to finish that up. Susan turned me onto an embroidered block of the month program over at When you sign up for that you have the opportunity to download another pattern free of charge. I'm always up for a free pattern! And following the lines already drawn by someone else was just the ticket for the end of this week. I've been in recovery mode for the last couple of days after toxic exposures.

Joy designed this pattern and calls it Fruits of the Spirit. You get to choose your own color palette. Naturally I've chosen to use some of my floss from the Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe.

I sure wish I could get a more accurate representation of the colors for you. My ground fabric is a quilter's cotton that is a pale mottled yellow. The word 'Love' is a deep, dark red. I'm looking forward to using one of the more distinctly variegated skeins for the line that frames the body of the design.

I've also been adding to my Year in Stitches sampler. I've been working on page two:

We've had snow flurries off and on all week, which is unusual for this area, so I added the snowflakes. Above them are tear drops between the hearts to mark the unexpected passing of a friend from my local quilt guild. I have some short strands left over from the Fruits of the Spirit panel I could use on this piece, I just have to figure out what to do with them. It's a struggle to decide whether to mark other events in the news on a piece that is otherwise purely personal or experimental. I'm tending toward not including them at this point. I prefer not to dwell on the violence and darkness in the world.